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A Short Manifesto on Disconnecting

May I have your attention, please?

Not some small sliver of your already too-divided attention, but your full focus and attention.

You are too distracted. We are too distracted.

We aren’t paying enough attention to WHAT really matters, and what’s worse, we aren’t paying enough attention to WHO really matters.

Instead of living in the present moment, we have allowed our focus and attention to be spread too thinly and across too many things at once.

We pride ourselves on our ability to do many things at once, even though the results we produce across the whole range of activities are far less than they would be were we to have given ourselves over to one activity, one outcome. We pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task, as if it’s a positive attribute. It is anything but. And our results prove it.

We sit across the table from the most important people in our lives, and instead of being engaged with them for the short time that we have them, we stare into the small screen and divide our attention among people who aren’t even there, most of them strangers. LOST are the shared moments that make up intimate human relationships, lifelong friendships, and LOVE, as our screens demand that we pay attention to the trivial, the novel.

And we pay for giving the small screens our attention with lives that are less than they might be because our relationships are less than they might be.

We have allowed the tools that allow us to improve some aspects of the way communicate and connect with others to destroy our ability to communicate with the people that are closest to us, the people we care most about.

By being always connected, we are always truly disconnected.

In the future, the most successful of us will be those of us with the ability to disconnect from the small screens, and to give our full focus and attention instead to the people next to us and standing in front of us. The most successful of us in life will be those of us that are fully connected to the people we care about because we are fully disconnected from the small screens.

The most successful of us in business will be those of us who have the ability to give our full focused attention to the what’s truly important, without dividing it among the trivial and unimportant.

To truly connect, you must truly disconnect. To give something or someone your full attention means that you must completely ignore everything else, everyone else.

Disconnect. Connect.

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  • ClaudiaC

    I hope you’re right that success will equal those who can disconnect. It seems like the value now is that success = constant connection to devices big or small.

  • Barbara

    Great post. Thanks for an interesting read. I’ve just subscribed to this blog so I’ll be back soon! Cheers

  • Mark MacLeod

    Amen! I have been guilty of this but am getting way better. I usually go at least 1 day on a weekend with no screens whatsoever. And I have started taking the train vs. driving. Gives me more time to read, catch up, so that when I get home, I am just home. 

  • F Saenz de Tejada

    Congratulations. Simple and straight analysis of our gadget obsesion. I am trying to quit :-)

  • AmyMccTobin

    When did we become like this?  You may have seen this Dalai Lama quote bouncing around lately, but I must repost as it’s totally apropos: 

    The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:“Man.Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

  • Abby

    *slowly stands up and claps*

  • Charles Stone

    I stand on the side of a street just after twilight a sedan drives by, all three passengers  iridescent zombie faces silently bowed as if in prayer to all that is cyber.